PORK CHOPS WITH FENNEL, ORANGE AND ONIONS

I'VE BEEN PREPARING THESE TOOTHSOME PORK COLLAR CHOPS FROM PEADS & BARNETTS SINCE I DISCOVERED THEM A YEAR AGO AT THE HOLLYWOOD FARMERS' MARKET.  THEY'RE IDEAL FOR PAN COOKING SINCE THEY ARE LARDED WITH ENOUGH FAT TO KEEP THEM JUICY EVEN IF I STRAY PAST PALE PINK.  REGULAR RIB CHOPS ARE ALSO DELICIOUS, BUT LESS FORGIVING, SINCE THEY ARE SOLID MEAT AND QUICKLY TURN TOUGH WITH OVERCOOKING.  SO SET ASIDE YOUR OUTDATED FEAR OF TRICHINOSIS.  YOU HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF GETTING E-COLI FROM HAMBURGERS OR SALMONELLA FROM CHICKEN OR, YES, LETTUCE!  FORGIVE ME.  THIS WAS NOT THE MOST ALLURING WAY OF INTRODUCING THIS WEEK'S RECIPE.  SHALL WE MOVE ON?  OKAY.  PORK CHOPS WITH THEIR SWEET FLESH AND FLAVORFUL FAT LEND THEMSELVES TO A NEARLY INFINITE RANGE OF SAUCES -- WHITE WINE, RED WINE, APPLES WITH COGNAC, CRÊME FRAÎCHE AND TARRAGON, CRISPY SAGE LEAVES...  RUMMAGING THROUGH MY REFRIGERATOR PRIOR TO COOKING, HOWEVER, I HAPT UPON A FENNEL BULB AND HALF A RED ONION.  WHILE THE CHOPS WERE BROWNING, I SLICED THE ONION AND THE FENNEL AND ADDED STRIPS OF FRESH ORANGE ZEST.  CHOPS DONE, I REMOVED THEM TO A PLATE AND TOSSED THE VEGETABLES INTO THE PAN.  I COOKED THEM JUST ENOUGH TO ROB THE ONION OF ITS BITE AND USED THE MIXTURE AS A BED FOR THE CHOPS.  THE CRUNCH OF THE ONIONS, THE LICORICE KISS OF FENNEL AND THE BITTERSWEET ZEST WERE THE PERFECT FLAVOR BOUQUET FOR MY HUMBLE COLLAR CHOPS.    

 4 PORK CHOPS PREFERABLY COLLAR CHOPS
 1 LARGE RED ONION
 1 FENNEL BULB
 1 NAVEL ORANGE
1

USE A CAST IRON OR BLUE STEEL PAN LARGE ENOUGH TO ACCOMMODATE THE CHOPS WITHOUT CROWDING. PRE-HEAT OVER MEDIUM FLAME FOR FIVE MINUTES.

DRY THE CHOPS THOROUGHLY WITH PAPER TOWELS. SEASON WITH SEA SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER.

PUT A SPLASH OF OLIVE OIL IN THE PAN. LAY IN THE CHOPS. COOK 3-5 MINUTES PER SIDE, DEPENDING ON THEIR THICKNESS. AFTER YOU FIRST SEE DROPS OF BLOOD ON THE SURFACE OF THE MEAT, COOK A MINUTE LONGER. THE CHOPS ARE DONE WHEN THE MEAT SPRINGS LIGHTLY BACK WHEN POKED WITH YOUR FINGER. ANY MORE THAN THAT, YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN.

MEANWHILE, PEEL THE ONION. SLICE LENGTHWISE IN HALF, THEN CROSSWISE INTO 1/4-INCH HALF MOONS.

PEEL ANY TOUGH OR DISCOLORED SKIN OFF THE FENNEL BULB. TRIM OFF THE STEM AND RESERVE ANY FRONDS ATTACHED. SLICE LENGTHWISE IN HALF. CUT OUT THE TOUGH WEDGE AT THE BASE. SLICE INTO 1/4 INCH HALF MOONS.

PEEL THE ZEST FROM THE ORANGE AND JULIENNE INTO 1/4-INCH STRIPS.

WHEN THE CHOPS ARE DONE, REMOVE TO A WARM PLATTER.

ADD THE ONIONS TO THE PAN. REDUCE THE HEAT AND COOK, STIRRING FREQUENTLY TILL THE ONIONS START TO WILT. ADD THE FENNEL AND. COOK ANOTHER MINUTE. STIR IN THE ORANGE ZEST AND COOK ANOTHER MINUTE.

IF YOU WISH YOU CAN SIMPLY ARRANGE THE CHOPS ATOP THE FENNEL MIXTURE OR SPOON THE MIXTURE ONTO A PLATTER AND LAY THE CHOPS ON TOP. GARNISH WITH SPRIGS OF FENNEL FRONDS.

SERVES 4

Ingredients

 4 PORK CHOPS PREFERABLY COLLAR CHOPS
 1 LARGE RED ONION
 1 FENNEL BULB
 1 NAVEL ORANGE

Directions

1

USE A CAST IRON OR BLUE STEEL PAN LARGE ENOUGH TO ACCOMMODATE THE CHOPS WITHOUT CROWDING. PRE-HEAT OVER MEDIUM FLAME FOR FIVE MINUTES.

DRY THE CHOPS THOROUGHLY WITH PAPER TOWELS. SEASON WITH SEA SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER.

PUT A SPLASH OF OLIVE OIL IN THE PAN. LAY IN THE CHOPS. COOK 3-5 MINUTES PER SIDE, DEPENDING ON THEIR THICKNESS. AFTER YOU FIRST SEE DROPS OF BLOOD ON THE SURFACE OF THE MEAT, COOK A MINUTE LONGER. THE CHOPS ARE DONE WHEN THE MEAT SPRINGS LIGHTLY BACK WHEN POKED WITH YOUR FINGER. ANY MORE THAN THAT, YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN.

MEANWHILE, PEEL THE ONION. SLICE LENGTHWISE IN HALF, THEN CROSSWISE INTO 1/4-INCH HALF MOONS.

PEEL ANY TOUGH OR DISCOLORED SKIN OFF THE FENNEL BULB. TRIM OFF THE STEM AND RESERVE ANY FRONDS ATTACHED. SLICE LENGTHWISE IN HALF. CUT OUT THE TOUGH WEDGE AT THE BASE. SLICE INTO 1/4 INCH HALF MOONS.

PEEL THE ZEST FROM THE ORANGE AND JULIENNE INTO 1/4-INCH STRIPS.

WHEN THE CHOPS ARE DONE, REMOVE TO A WARM PLATTER.

ADD THE ONIONS TO THE PAN. REDUCE THE HEAT AND COOK, STIRRING FREQUENTLY TILL THE ONIONS START TO WILT. ADD THE FENNEL AND. COOK ANOTHER MINUTE. STIR IN THE ORANGE ZEST AND COOK ANOTHER MINUTE.

IF YOU WISH YOU CAN SIMPLY ARRANGE THE CHOPS ATOP THE FENNEL MIXTURE OR SPOON THE MIXTURE ONTO A PLATTER AND LAY THE CHOPS ON TOP. GARNISH WITH SPRIGS OF FENNEL FRONDS.

SERVES 4

PORK CHOPS WITH FENNEL, ORANGE AND ONIONS
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